After an hour and a half Pall Hammer returned with Bonnie and we all crammed ourselves into the car for the trip to Leynar. Bonnie's presence made the trip a kind of clown car experience, what with four of us in the back seat and three in the front of a car designed to fit five people. She realized as we piled in that she'd complicated things but was beside herself with excitement.
"I had to talk to you guys," she said. "Wait until you see where we're staying. And I'm sorry we took so long but Pall and I had to schlep the luggage up a...well, you'll see."
The road led us through Vatnsoyrar and Midvagar and Sandavagur, all pristine villages with houses painted bright colors or the traditional black. Some had grass roofs, a sight that amazed us no end yet seemed not the least bit out of place. Churches were prominent, each a different shape and size, but all well kept and very obviously an integral part of their communities. These three villages were separated by several miles open land covered with short, thick grass growing in rocky soil. The farther we drove the more it became apparent that trees were in short supply. All was vista and panorama. White clouds rode the wind like galleons through a blue sky that framed a green and mountainous land. The strange newness of the view kept my eyes roaming and my mind busy trying to sort out what I was seeing and how it related to the map I'd studied at the airport.
Before long we reached the terminus of the Vagar end of a five kilometer long tunnel beneath the sea. On the other side was Stremoy, home of Torshavn, the capitol of the Faroes and of Leynar, our destination for the day. (See photo above for view of Vagar end of tunnel with Stremoy Island in the distance.)
( http://www.thefullwiki.org/Vágoy )
The tunnel is one of many built to link the islands and the toll was 130 Faroese Krone. That equals about twenty dollars. (Still, it beat the alternative, which was swimming. Even in June the water at 62 degrees north latitude was very cold.)
The car zoomed into the tunnel and descended perceptibly. The roadway was well illuminated and the air smelled only slightly of exhaust fumes. Huge fans mounted in the overhead of the tunnel were designed to keep the tunnel clear of noxious gasses, but Pall told us that at times the entrances are blocked should traffic overload the ventilation system. We reached the bottom and started to climb and I thought about the weight of water above us. Again my life aboard submarines gave me a perspective that others did not have. Pressure and cold and water held at bay by technology. Bright sunshine greeted us at the Stremoy end of the tunnel and we almost immediately entered a roundabout and took a right hand turn where the road signs pointed toward Leynar.
On our right a small river ran picturesque down through a winding valley to a grey shingled beach nestled between two wide arms of the coast. Above the left hand side of the beach was the village of Leynar, a quiet community of about sixty houses. We were on the southern coast of Stremoy and headed southwest. The road began a gentle climb and the sea to the right dropped away. A half mile outside of the town proper and a few hundred feet in elevation Pall pulled the car into a stony parking area on the left hand side of the road and we piled out.
The parking area was bordered on two sides by a steep wall of rock. Steps and railings bolted to the stone face led up to a group of three houses high above us. To the right, paralleling the steps a brook splashed and trilled down the steep slope, crossed the road via a wide culvert and continued through a narrow gorge down to the sea. Sixty feet above the parking area the trail turned into a series of switchbacks that led to the lowest of the houses.
"We had to carry all the luggage up to the house," said Bonnie with a rueful grin. "That's why we took so long getting back to the airport.
"Better you than than me," I replied as I trudged upward and ascended the stairs of the house.
Our home for the next three weeks was small and tidy, perched upon wooden piers sunk into the bedrock that rose precipitously for a mile or so to a high tor and connecting ridge that towered over the town and beach. The stairs led to a thirty foot long covered porch or lanai that ran the length of the house. In the center of this a door led into the house proper and the living room, the largest in the house at about twenty feet wide by fifteen feet deep. A couch and some chairs surrounded a small coffee table. Our baggage was piled in this room and seemed to fill the space. Through a small entrance at the back of this room was the only bathroom, a tiny room with a shower, toilet, wash basin and a strange contraption that turned out to be a combination clothes washer and dryer. Through the far side of the bathroom was the only bedroom and bed in the house. It was small and if the bathroom was occupied, you were trapped until whoever was in there was finished. To the left of the living room was a small kitchen that contained a refrigerator, stove, some cabinets and a small pantry. On the wall facing the sea was a sink and counter top, above which was a window that looked through the lanai, over the rail and out to one of the most beautiful views I had ever seen.
I walked back out to the lanai and put my sleeping bag down on the rough planking beneath the kitchen window. Here in the open air, closest to the sea and sky would be my sleeping spot. Cold nights and moist air ensured that I would have no competition for the space. I placed my pack against the wall and went to the lanai rail or parapet and looked out at the world.
In the distance the island of Vagar rose from a fjord like channel that snaked north and west between Stremoy and appeared to open on the sea far off in the mist. To the left, south and east the channel widened to frame two islands, Koltur and Hestur rising from the sea on the horizon. Leynar and the beach around which the town had sprung up in years long past was laid out before me like a picture post card.
At that moment a wail sounded from inside the house. Larina was missing her purse and with it her passport, return tickets and all of her money. Along with those items she realized that her sweater and camera were also missing. The last place she remembered seeing them was on the table where we waited at the airport.
Larina was beside herself and nothing Bonnie said could comfort her. No one mentioned that she should have been more careful. Pall got on the phone and dialed the airport, an act I thought futile in the extreme. Too much time had passed between our departure from the airport and the discovery that Larina's purse and possessions were missing. To my way of thinking they were, like the proverbial dog's dinner, long gone.
(To be continued.)
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